It has been a while since we last posted on our blog. Winter is normally a quiet time of year, we tend to hunker down and nest over most of this season. But, things have been happening.
Firstly – what seemed like a lifetime ago … and it felt like it took that length of time to finish – we had the ardoise roof replaced. After delays in obtaining the zinc ridge, the roof was finally crowned at the beginning of October 2010. We are totally water tight for the first time ever in this house! The finishing touch is our wonderful copper cockerel weathervane.
Our friendly farmer delights in telling me, every time I see him, that he looks at our cockerel every day to see what the weather is going to bring. He finds it amusing that we don’t see the girouette ourselves unless we are down the garden or visiting him and he always ends by saying “he doesn’t sing very well does he?”.
Now the next step. Insulating the vast space upstairs and plasterboarding it, ready to convert the area into various rooms.
Well, the first step was to move all the boxes and furniture out of the main grenier and into the lower back portion of the roof. It took me over a day and at times my language was quite colourful – especially after I had banged my head for the umpteenth time on the low doorway into the back. I was amazed at the number of boxes we had – two countries, two houses – now all in the back roof – it just swallowed it all up!
Great – now lets get the workmen in. Wrong. Preparation needed.
All the wonderful old oak beams were covered in decades of dust and grime. I sent Adrian up to the highest ridge beams to deal with them while I dealt with the lower down ones.
We used thick nylon brush wheels attached to a drill to clean off the surface without too much damage being done to the wood. After burning out one drill, purchasing a new one, only the beams which will be partially covered by plasterboard were now almost ready.
Next step, and not my favourite at all – spraying all the beams with a toxic chemical to kill off any wood boring bugs. Dressed in old jeans, t-shirt, shower cap, goggles, mask and rubber gloves – I sprayed the whole inside roof area from top to bottom (gravity helped here!). I needed to stop frequently to demist my goggles as the spray showered down on me and to pop outside to gulp lungs full of fresh air. Everywhere got a good soaking and it was amazing to see how many dead shield beetles and other insects collected on the floor over night. This wood will not need treating again in our lifetime- neither will I – I will be able to sleep well at night knowing I won’t be attacked by woodworm!
Final stage – almost – the beams which will be partially covered by the plasterboard needed a coat of something. Having researched for the right finish and product – tins of tinted wax were bought and Adrian was again sent up to the highest beams to paint on the wax while I did the remaining lower down ones.
Feeling like Daniel Larusso from The Karate Kid - wax on wax off – the beams were totally transformed.
Now can we get the workmen in? – Nope – electrics need putting in place for the lights. We spent a day planning where the lights would potentially go and Adrian once again scaled up to the very ridge and drilled through the main beams to hide the cabling. We have thought of every combination of lighting set up for the landing and our bedroom and couldn’t quite agree on the guest rooms so put in a variety of options just in case.
Now – the workmen are in and the insulation and boarding is going up – watch this space …